A woman has told how her scar from chickenpox turned into skin cancer almost 30 years after she contracted the virus.
Louise Thorell, 32, from Ashington, Northumberland, was always self conscious about the scar on her face left behind from when she battled chicken pox, aged five, but thought it was harmless.
But in 2018 the scar's appearance started to change, and after after having series of infections, she was referred for tests by her doctor, before being rocked by the news she had skin cancer.
She is now cancer free after having three surgeries to remove it which have left her with a scar on her face.
Louise explained: "It felt tougher, waxier than my normal skin.
"Around that time, I accidentally scratched my scar and after that I had issues. It would heal, a scab would form, it would fall off and an open wound would be there until a new scab would form.
"I dealt with it for a few months until I got an infection. My undereye swelled and my wound site got bigger each time it would open and heal again. I got two infections in it and an infection in my nose and above my lip too.
"After the first infection I noticed it had changed in appearance. It had tiny little blood vessel veins around it."
Louise feared the worst after going for test because there's a history of skin cancer in her family.
Her grandmother Lillian, who had passed away in 2014 from lung cancer, had suffered with a melanoma on the right side of her face.
She said: "My Nana had melanoma on the left side of her face, pretty much the same place – mine was on my right side. I googled skin cancers as I had a feeling my scar/wound had turned sinister.
"I made an appointment with my doctor and was referred very quickly to the melanoma clinic in Cramlington Northumberland, which is run by doctors and nurses from Newcastle RVI hospital.
When the results came back, Louise was hit with the devastating news that she had developed Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), a common type of skin cancer, which can be non fatal if treated early.
The most common cause of BCC is from overexposure to ultraviolet light, usually found on sunbeds.
Louise was stunned by the diagnosis as she claims she had never used sun beds
She also insists she makes sure she applies sun cream to her pale skin in hot weather .
In November 2019, Louise had a procedure which left her with a visible scar on her face that required corrective surgery to improve it.
She said: "I had Mohs surgery. I was awake for the surgery, just under local anaesthetic. They take some of the cancer cells away. Then it's tested and looked under the microscope to see if there are still cancer cells in a certain section.
"After the first time they took cells away, I was bandaged up and was told to go for lunch and a drink and come back in two hours to see if they got all the cancer first time. Unfortunately, they hadn't. I had to go back in theatre and get more taken off. This happened a total of three times. Three times they had to go back on my face and take cells/tumour away..
"At first I wasn't expecting the sheer size of my scar to be as big as it is. I did feel awful about how I looked. I tried to joke about it and make fun to lighten my mood.
"This lasted a few weeks. When I started to see it healing, my goodness, my spirits were lifted. I had plastic/restorative surgery the same day on my face.
"Now I am very, very aware of my skin. I religiously apply Biooil twice daily, I put face cream on first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I don't scrub my face, I take extra care and time on my face now."
Despite her ordeal, Louise said she feels 'lucky' that her diagnosis wasn't worse.
She hopes that by telling her story she will inspire people to get get any unusual changes on their skin examined by doctors.
She said: "Take notice of your skin. Lumps or bumps or patches not looking like they used to. Get checked. I just feel lucky and blessed that it wasn't worse. My face is forever changed but I'm skin cancer free."
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